D E S T I N AT I O N :
Everything ALCATRAZ !
H I S T O R Y , P E O P L E , M Y S T E R I E S , T R A V E L I N F O & M U C H M O R E !
WELCOME to Alcatraz Island, a.k.a. 'the ROCK' ! This iconic rocky out-cropping - located at the
center of San Francisco Bay - has an endless inventory of colorful stories to share, so discover here
the surprising history of the 'little island with the BIG reputation!' We hope you will use this site to
help prepare for an in-person visit, or to just tour the island virtually.
LEARN here, of Alcatraz Island's geologic formation, early Native American visitors, the
transformation by the U.S. Army, the transition from military fortress & prison to Federal Penitentiary,
and ultimately the creation here of one of the our county's most intriguing U.S. National Park-sites.
HEAR of over a dozen daring and dangerous prison escape attempts - while meeting the real
'tough-guys' who did 'hard-time' here, and others who also lived on Alcatraz - by choice - prison
guards and their families.
EXPLORE with us, hidden and little-known Alcatraz historical treasures - including surprising Civil
War Era gardens, the location of our country's first west-coast Lighthouse, and surprising seabird
nesting colonies! Follow the LINKS below, or the 'Subjects' listings at the top of the page.
And/or: SCROLL down for more content.
I N T R O D U C T I O N
Alcatraz Island , once home to America's most dangerous Federal Penitentiary, is now also a unique and enticing U.S. National Park site, at the center of San Francisco Bay, and offers opportunities to explore multiple layers of intriguing and important American history. . .
For many people, interest in Alcatraz history begins with a natural curiosity for the history of America's most renown prison, U.S.P. - Alcatraz (1934-1963). Intense public interest was first fostered by an intense secrecy - created by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons - when it opened the new facility in August 1934, and has continued for the past eight decades.
Numerous notorious criminals, from America's infamous 'Gangster Era' - late 1920's, early 1930's - including Al 'Scarface' Capone, Alvin 'Creepy' Karpis, and George 'Machine-Gun' Kelly, were transferred to 'the Rock' from other federal prisons - as America's 'most dangerous criminals' and 'high escape-risks'.
With the arrival of each these Gangster Era 'celebrity' prisoners, the secrecy regarding their treatment fanned the public interest- and Hollywood movie producers quickly responded with a succession of Alcatraz themed releases.
The first of the major productions, would star two major leading-male actors of the time, Edgar G. Robinson and Jimmy Stewart - in 'The Last Gangster' (1937).
A succession of Hollywood films would follow - over many decades - including 'Birdman of Alcatraz' (1962) starring Burt Lancaster, the iconic 'Escape from Alcatraz' (1973)- detailing the 1962 'Greatest Escape', starring lead-actor Clint Eastwood, and then the blockbuster - 'The Rock' - featuring box-office stars Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage (1996).
Since Alcatraz Island opened as a U.S. National Park site in 1972, visitors numbering up to nearly 1.5 million - from all points around the globe - have traveled to this special historic island each year!
Alcatraz visitors are enriched by the history preserved here as the discover significant Civil War military fortifications, historic gardens, the site of the first light-house on the American west coast, and the surprising seasonal colonies of nesting seabirds.
We hope you enjoy your 'virtual visit' to our site - and hopefully are planning an actual visit sometime in the not-too-distant future!
There are numerous fascinating discoveries to share -from the Civil War/Fortress Era, through the infamous penitentiary period, to today's National Park site - so please - enjoy your 'visit' and return often, as this is an ever-evolving site!
Check out our BLOG POSTS BELOW, navigate to other pages at the top of this home-page, or click on images in 'Virtual Tours' to connect to expanding content: